BEST OF THE FESTS: Bay Harbor Fest, St. Clare Seafood Fest, Jazz in the Pass draw thousands to Coast
By Geoff Belcher
May 24, 2013, 22:38
Blackberry Smoke performs on the main stage Friday evening during Bay Harbor Fest.
Old Town Bay St. Louis was abuzz with activity Friday afternoon as merchants, vendors and organizers labored to prepare for an estimated 15,000 visitors for Bay Harbor Fest.
Although there was slight confusion over street closures and other details, "I think it's going well," Mayor Les Fillingame said. "As short a time frame as everybody had to put everything together, I think it's gone extremely well."
"It's getting off to a good start," Suzi Walters, proprietor of Identity Vintage on Main Street, said Friday. "I think we're going to have a great weekend. I think it's another way for people to get together and celebrate Bay St. Louis like we always do, with great food, great music and great fellowship.
"We can roll out the red carpet for visitors like nobody else."
A few miles down Beach Boulevard, organizers of the St. Clare Seafood Festival in Waveland were just as busy putting the finishing touches on the annual event.
"It's going to be the biggest festival we've ever had," Paul Williams, one of St. Clare Fest's organizers said earlier this week. "We're looking to have a festival to celebrate the whole county and the Coast. It isn't your average church carnival – it's much bigger than that.
"St. Clare Seafood Festival offers fun for the whole family, and some of the best seafood you're going to find anywhere. Our chefs are ready."
The festival will offer po-boys, boiled seafood, shrimp and fish tacos and several different seafood dishes, in addition to carnival rides, arts & crafts booths, a "Kiddie Corral" and top-notch entertainment.
The Bucktown Allstars kicked off the music on Friday evening.
Local "Mississippi Hippies" the Rochelle Harper Band will perform today, as will The Relative Unknowns featuring Phil "Smooth" Williams."
On Sunday, D-Play and the Cheyenne Band featuring Joni Compretta will perform.
American Legion Post 77 of Waveland, Legion Post 139 of Bay St. Louis and VFW Post will participate raise the flag each day at the beginning of the festival, with Chuck Tippit singing the National Anthem.
It is free to attend the St. Clare festival, although there is a charge for food, beverages and carnival rides.
Bay Harbor Fest and the St. Clare Seafood Festival both began Friday and run through Sunday. From 1-7 p.m. on Sunday, they'll be joined by "Jazz in the Pass" at Pass Christian's War Memorial Park.
The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs (and to leave glass containers at home). Food and craft vendors from Pass Christian will be offering their wares. Beer and soft drinks will be available.
Bay Harbor Fest serves up a food festival within a music festival in two separate food court areas, one at the corner of Main and 2nd Streets and one at the foot of Main overlooking the new harbor.
Tickets for the Bay event are available at the gate or at bayharborfest.com.
The only place tickets are necessary are around the main stage at Court Street and Beach Boulevard. It is free to roam around the rest of Old Town, although organizers are asking for a voluntary $5 donation in certain areas to help recoup their costs.